مقدمات کلیدی "صادرات" برای رفتارهای بازارمحور: بررسی تجربی متقابل ملی
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||تعداد صفحات مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی|
|16212||2001||22 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید|
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : International Journal of Research in Marketing, Volume 18, Issue 3, September 2001, Pages 261–282
In this paper, a model of the key determinants of firms' market-oriented activities in their export operations was developed and tested on survey data from New Zealand and Finland. The variables examined did a good job in predicting firms' export market-oriented behavior (R2=77%). The results suggest that several factors, which are unique to firms' export operations, may play an important role in influencing the firms' export market-oriented behavior. The findings also identified variables which have non-linear relationships with firms' market-oriented behavior in their export markets. Finally, some of the identified antecedents' importance varied across New Zealand and Finland.
As a result of the increasing tendency towards an open global economy (Webster and Deshpandé, 1990) and a focus on improving national trade deficits (cf., Katsikeas et al., 1996), international business involvement is gaining in importance, not only in terms of national prosperity, but also for individual companies. Not surprisingly, with exporting being the most common form of international business involvement (Leonidou, 1995), researchers have focused much of their attention on developing a greater understanding of the determinants of export performance (for reviews, see Aaby and Slater, 1989 and Zou and Stan, 1998). One route to superior export success is through the adoption of a market orientation (e.g., Hooley and Newcomb, 1983). Reflecting findings in the broader market orientation literature (e.g., Greenley and Foxall, 1998 and Oczkowski and Farrell, 1998), empirical work suggests that firms exhibiting market-oriented behavior in their export operations are more successful in their exporting activities than their less market-oriented counterparts (e.g., Cadogan and Diamantopoulos, 1998, Thirkell and Dau, 1998 and Kwon and Hu, 2000). The conclusion to be drawn from these studies is that firms wishing to improve their export performance should show increased market-oriented behavior in their export activities. In this context, several recent studies have provided insights into those factors which may impede or facilitate the adoption of market-oriented behavior (e.g., Jaworski and Kohli, 1993 and Ruekert, 1992). However, notwithstanding these developments, the situation is far from satisfactory for exporters. This is because empirical research into those factors which may bring about market-oriented behavior has not been undertaken in an exporting context; rather, researchers have developed and tested theories which are relatively context-free. That is, current theoretical models of the antecedents to market-oriented behavior have conceptualized the latter as being a set of activities which occur at the organizational level. However, as Uncles (2000, p. v) pointed out: “organisations are not concrete and singular (although this is implicitly how some researchers see market-oriented organisations)”. In other words, an assumption within these models is that an organization's “general” level of market-oriented behavior, its level of market-oriented behavior in its domestic market, and its level of market-oriented behavior in its export markets, are all one and the same. As a result, the antecedents to market-oriented behavior have been conceptualized as being the same, and as having a uniform impact, across the organizational, the domestic, and the export levels of analysis. Yet it is by no means certain that a firm's level of market-oriented behavior within its domestic market will automatically be reproduced in its export activities. As noted by Hooley and Newcomb (1983, pp. 17 and 20) in an early review of the export performance literature: “perhaps the single most pervading finding into export performance is the fact that many companies simply fail to carry forward any marketing orientation they may have developed in their domestic market to [their export] markets… Management have been slow to adopt a market orientation in their [export] operations”. Consequently, conceptualizing market-oriented behavior at the organizational level may be inappropriate in the case of exporting companies. Thus, since a firm's level of market orientation can differ, depending on whether one is considering its domestic or its export operations, it would seem prudent to study antecedents at the appropriate level of analysis. Specifically, if one is interested in predicting firms' market-oriented behavior in their export markets, antecedent factors should be contextualized to, and sought at, the exporting level. There are at least two benefits to be gained from this approach. First, given that current theoretical constructions of the antecedents to market-oriented behavior have excluded explicit reference to the exporting context, one can argue that these theories have an implied domestic bias. However, it cannot be taken for granted that factors which tend to act as antecedents at the organizational or domestic level necessarily play the same role in facilitating or inhibiting market-oriented behavior at the exporting level. Indeed, as we argue in a later section, factors which have been seen to facilitate market-oriented behavior in a purely domestic marketing context may not necessarily facilitate firms' ability to behave in a market-oriented way in their export operations. Consequently, contextualizing market orientation's antecedents to the exporting setting is required to protect against incorrectly generalizing antecedent factors beyond the purely domestic marketing context. Second, by studying antecedents to market-oriented behavior at the export level, the “theory of the antecedents to market orientation” is opened up to the possible discovery of additional antecedent factors. That is, antecedents may be found which affect a firm's market-oriented behavior in its export operations but, because of their context-specific nature, do not lend themselves to being modeled as antecedents to a firm's market-oriented behavior in its domestic market. For example, export coordination and export experience have been argued as antecedents to an exporter's level of market-oriented behavior in its foreign markets (Cadogan and Diamantopoulos, 1995). However, it would not necessarily make sense to model these concepts as antecedents to a firm's domestic market-oriented activities. Consequently, the main objective of the current study is to develop and test a model of the antecedents to firms' market-oriented behavior in their export operations. In order to achieve this, aspects of the internal logic of several of the “law-like generalizations” proposed in current theories of market orientation's antecedents were recalibrated to better reflect their likely influence in an exporting context. Additionally, we proposed several new mechanisms, specific to the exporting context, which act to influence a firm's market orientation. Using cross-national data to empirically assess the framework developed, we also provided first insights into the cultural stability of the antecedents proposed. As a result, the current study contributes to a more holistic understanding of the market orientation phenomenon. In what follows, we first explicate the construct of market-oriented behavior. We then propose a model of its antecedents in firms' export operations. The field investigation undertaken to test the framework is then described and the findings are outlined. We follow this with a discussion of the managerial relevance of the results. Finally, the study's limitations and suggestions for future research are highlighted.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
7.1. A note on causality Throughout this paper, we have developed arguments providing theoretical support for the notion that certain export processes, structures, systems and characteristics can help facilitate or inhibit the development of EMO behavior. Furthermore, the direction of the causal linkages put forward is entirely consistent with the broad literature on market orientation. Indeed, on this issue Ruekert (1992, p. 230) was explicit: “A dominant view of organizational functioning suggests that organizational actions such as the degree of market orientation are inextricably linked to the organizational structures, systems and processes created to sustain them… [These organizational structures, systems and processes] serve as antecedents to developing a market orientation… [acting either] to enhance this development or be a roadblock which prevents such development”. Clearly, we should not necessarily rely exclusively on “dominant” views. Alternative theories can be constructed. For instance, one could argue that higher levels of EMO behavior result in higher levels of financial performance in firms' export operations. In turn, this creates additional slack which can be used to purchase or develop more export experience. Arguments such as this certainly have merit, and may well reflect reality. Fortunately, even if some of the antecedents we have proposed are consequences of EMO behavior, this does not weaken the logic of the theoretical linkages developed in our conceptual model. Rather, it is more likely to imply that the variables in question are antecedents to EMO behavior and consequences of it. It should be remembered, however, that since our data are cross-sectional, it is not possible to determine the nature of the causal mechanisms underlying the relationships between the variables in our model. Rather, we are limited to the task of identifying patterns of association which are consistent with the causal linkages implied from the conceptual model. As a result of this situation, we adopt a pragmatic stance when interpreting our findings. Taking export experience as an example, the logic of the argument that export experience facilitates EMO behavior is strong. Therefore, we interpret the positive association found between these two variables as adding credence to the notion that export experience plays an antecedent role in the development of EMO behavior. However, causal interpretations of this kind must be considered tentative; alternative interpretations of the findings cannot be discounted. 7.2. Managerial implications Previous research has shown that firms which are more market-oriented in their export activities enjoy greater export success Cadogan and Diamantopoulos, 1998 and Thirkell and Dau, 1998. Thus, export managers should strive to increase their firms' levels of EMO behavior in their efforts to attain superior export performance. In this context, the purpose of this study was to develop and provide preliminary empirical insights into a model of EMO behavior's antecedents. While the study successfully identified several factors as potential key determinants of EMO behavior, it was seen that some factors which were significant predictors of EMO behavior in Finland were not significant predictors in New Zealand, and vice versa. Importantly, export coordination appears to improve firms' ability to successfully generate, disseminate, and respond to export market intelligence. Clearly, if firms are to excel at being market-oriented in their export operations, then exporting, as a way of doing business, needs to become integrated within the broader set of organizational norms. Through fostering, in all employees, qualities such as shared values and beliefs, aligned goals, a lack of dysfunctional conflict, trust, and good communication, the firm will develop the intrinsic capabilities necessary to drive EMO behavior. Thus, it can be seen that coordination acts as a steering mechanism to the firm's market-oriented activities, ensuring that they are undertaken effectively and efficiently. This finding makes good sense given coordination's role as a pillar of the marketing concept. Interestingly, we also provided evidence in support of the notion that formalization and centralization influence market orientation. However, the nature of the relationships uncovered depended on the turbulence in the export environment and the country under investigation. As a result, the implications of these findings are that (a) formalized exporting systems may be less appropriate under conditions of high market dynamism, where customers preferences and requirements are changing rapidly and are unpredictable, and (b) formalization may be more appropriate in Finland (and, potentially, other countries with “high” levels of uncertainty avoidance) when the regulatory environment is highly turbulent. The findings also imply that (a) centralization of export decision making could be less appropriate under conditions of relatively high regulatory turbulence and, (b) in Finland (and perhaps in countries with similar cultural profiles), centralization may have a direct detrimental impact on EMO behavior, regardless of environmental circumstances. It also seems likely that top management play a crucial role in facilitating EMO behavior within the firm. Consequently, management need to embrace exporting as a way of competing in the marketplace. Rather that merely paying ‘lip service’ to the importance of export operations, managers need to demonstrate their commitment by investing resources in exporting and expanding the firm's export involvement (cf., Francis and Collins-Dodd, 2000). Management also need to emphasize to all employees that being market-oriented in the firm's export operations is (a) important to the firm's competitiveness and (b) required of everyone in the firm. Unless management emphasize that employees be attentive to export customer requirements, it is unlikely that the firm will provide the required level of service and product responsiveness to compete successfully in its chosen foreign markets. Interestingly, export market-oriented reward systems were related to EMO behavior in New Zealand but not Finland. The latter finding contradicts other studies in the broader market orientation literature, and provides further evidence that antecedent to EMO behavior may not be generalizable across all nations. Market-oriented training may also influence EMO behavior. Consequently, there are likely to be clear benefits for firms who initiate training programs which (a) focus on providing individuals with an understanding of the operational requirements associated with successful exporting practice and (b) develop in all employees an appreciation of an export customer and competitor focus. Such programs may help in reducing ethnocentric world-views and overcome myopic approaches to export marketing (Hooley and Newcomb, 1983). Finally, export experience appears to play a key role in enabling a firm to exhibit EMO behavior. Thus, a challenge for managers lies in creating an organizational environment which fosters the development and retention of those employees who are highly skilled in export matters and have a rich understanding of the firm's export market. Experiential knowledge development, through employee participation in the firm's export operations may play a role here. However, it is likely that recruiting practices will be important in developing this experiential skill base within the firm (cf., Ruekert, 1992). The latter could also be enhanced by promoting various organizational learning processes. For example, by conducting audits of particularly successful/unsuccessful exporting ventures and developing formal ‘export market intelligence’ databases which are accessible to current and future employees, exporting firms may be able to enhance both organizational memory, and learning within the firm. 7.3. Limitations and future research The cross-sectional nature of the data generated poses an important limitation of this study, since it did not allow us to determine the causes and effects of the variables investigated. Thus, cross-sectional methods need to be complemented with longitudinal studies in order that causal inferences can be made with greater confidence. A second study limitation is that, although we have wide coverage of potential antecedents to EMO behavior, we have not identified all possible antecedent factors. Consequently, it may be that new insights into the development of EMO behavior can be generated by developing more detailed models of its determinants. For example, researchers may wish to investigate whether additional factors, at the export level or the organizational level (such as the communication–action “gap” of top management, acceptance of political behavior, or levels of interdepartmental conflict across the firm), inhibit or facilitate EMO activities. Notwithstanding these issue, however, the results of our study indicate that there are relationships between potential antecedent factors and firms' levels of EMO behavior which have substantive implications: that is, factors such as export coordination, export commitment, export centralization, export experience, and the like, may well have a direct impact on the development of a firm's EMO behavior. Several directions for future research arise as a result of these findings. Perhaps most importantly is the need for an investigation into the factors which foster or strengthen export coordination. Related to the coordination theme, the decision to become more export market-oriented also implies committing resources to exporting. What impact does this have on tensions between the exporting unit and other lesser export-oriented functions, and political friction among the firm's stakeholders? Furthermore, it may be that efforts to increase the firm's EMO behavior will impact on the firm's domestic market-oriented behaviors in a synergistic fashion, or vice versa, through, for instance, more efficient communication flows, or a greater firm-wide intrapreneurial emphasis. Therefore, the interaction between the development of a market orientation in the firm's domestic and export markets needs to be explored. The potentially critical role of a rich exporting skill-base in the development of EMO behavior also gives rise to a number of questions. In particular, what are the factors which foster the development of exporting skills? And how can organizations take full advantage of their learning capabilities in order to broaden and deepen their export marketing knowledge base? The role that recruitment and training of export staff may play in this context also needs to be explored, as does the impact of employee turnover on the firm's export marketing ‘memory’. The role that new information technology is playing in helping firms overcome the barriers to learning in their export operations is also worthy of investigation, as is the influence of various forms of government export assistance. Finally, the current study also provided some indication to suggest that aspects of culture moderate some of the relationships which were examined. Further research into this issue is clearly warranted. It would also be prudent for future researchers conducting work in the areas suggested above to consider the cross-cultural validity of their findings, and pay particular attention to these issues when making recommendations to managers.